India has registered significant decline in mortality rate of children under five years of age, according to the recently-released 2016 sample registration system (SRS) bulletin. Under-five mortality rate (U5MR) in India showed an impressive decline of 9 per cent, from 43 per 1,000 in 2015 to 39 per 1,000 in 2016, it said.
According to a health ministry statement, for the first time, the number of under-five deaths in the country have come down to below 1 million with nearly 1,20,000 fewer under-five deaths in 2016 as compared to 2015. Most of the states have shown good progress in reduction of under-five child mortality in 2016 from the previous year. However, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and Uttarakhand, showed a slight increase over the previous year, while Telangana, showed no change in 2016.
Congratulating all those associated with this “remarkable feat”, Union Health Minister J P Nadda said the results signify that the strategic approach of the government in the matter is yielding dividends and putting focus on low-performance states is paying off.
He said India is on track of meeting the target of bringing under-five mortality rate down to 25 by 2030 under Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SRS Bulletin also stated that gender gap in India for child survival is reducing steadily with difference between female and male under-five mortality rates reducing to 11 per cent. It was 17 per cent in 2014.
The current under-five mortality for male is 37 per 1000, while for female child it is 41 per 1000 live births. Among the bigger states, seven — Chattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Telangana –have reversed the gender gap in survival of female child. Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have reversed the gender gap in under-five survival.
Telangana, West Bengal, Odisha, Punjab and Delhi have depicted less than five per cent gap in mortality of female child and are within striking distance to reverse the gender gap.
The maximum gender gap in survival of under-five for female child is in Bihar (46 per cent higher mortality for female child), followed by Haryana (23 per cent), Kerala (20 per cent), Assam and Karnataka (19 per cent each) and Rajasthan (17 per cent).
The SRS Bulletin also shows that the neonatal mortality rate has reduced by 1 point from 25 per 1,000 live births to 24 per 1,000 live births.